(July 17) Here is a little quiz. Answer true or false to the following statements:

1. Global warming is a coming disaster, largely man-made, that will devastate the planet in coming decades.

2. Global warming is one of those trumped-up problems — the climate is always changing so why worry?

3. The U.S. is the villain in the global warming controversy because it won’t join in international treaties to fight the problem.

4. The global warming advocates are professional alarmists who scare people in order to raise donation money and perpetuate themselves.

The answer to all of the above is false. There is a real disagreement about the effects of global warming. Both sides make some valid points and some invalid ones. Both sides are adept at calling the other side by bad names — which undercuts the effectiveness of their own arguments. Name-calling is not a good debating strategy. It simply says that you don’t have good arguments, so you must attack the opponent.

There is no agreement on whether global warming is a good or bad thing. There may be some good things, some bad results. A mixed bag, as are most bags.

A recent European Union study predicts some rather dire outcomes: coastal flooding, increases in some diseases, disruptions in agriculture and food production, a decline in winter sports and recreation, more storms and bad weather.

Other studies are less dire. There could be increases in growing seasons and greater food production. Most people prefer warmer weather — the living is easier. Growing patterns may change, but orange trees are not likely to grow in Kansas. Fuel costs could decline. As for increases in certain diseases, like malaria or more insect infestations, the hot and humid Southern U.S. has fought these scourges through the years and won. Millions of Americans sought “climate change” by moving south. It’s often said that south Texas and southern Florida are “unlivable” at certain times — yet millions of people live there. They adjusted to the climate, installed air conditioning and used drugs and pesticides and other technical breakthroughs to fight pests and diseases.

If one can survive and thrive in south Florida in the middle of summer, then global warming is not the grim threat it is portrayed to be. People seem to like to live in deserts — hot places with no water and almost no natural plant life. Millions live in Phoenix, Las Vegas and the Desert Southwest.

Still, it would be foolish to ignore climate change or claim it is of no importance. It ought to be studied and reasonable steps taken to make sure that human input doesn’t make things a lot worse. That doesn’t mean for the developed nations, such as the U.S. and Canada, to unilaterally harm themselves and their economies to meet emission and product standards that exempt most of the world. A global problem is a global problem. Why should most of the world be let off the hook?

How much do humans contribute to climate change compared to the natural world? It is sometimes said that a great volcanic eruption does more harm to the climate than all human pollution combined. Still, that’s not much of an argument: Volcanoes pollute, so don’t worry about human pollutants. Talk about passing the buck: “Don’t look at me. The volcano did it.”

Then there is the question about whether climate change is truly taking place or whether it is just natural variation. Apparently, global temperatures are going up. But good weather information only exists for a few hundred years. What is a trend in global climate terms? Yes, people talk about how winters are milder, and how Glacier National Park is losing its glaciers. On the other hand, in Alaska some glaciers are melting, some are growing. In short, does a period of global warming mean climate change? Climate trends last ages. The Ice Age, for example. Most of us live less than a century. We won’t be around to see whether the climate will truly change.

Some of us who have been around for quite a few seasons can remember a debate that took place more than a quarter century ago: Is global cooling going on? Stories were written about what this could mean: shorter growing seasons, more winter sports, more fuel use.

So in a relatively brief time we’ve gone from global cooling to global warming. In the end is there anything definitive to say on the subject that hasn’t already been said? Probably not. Most of the wide universe is a cold and dark place. Warmth is generally seen as a positive. That’s not being glib: If global warming disrupts some of our lives and livelihoods, that won’t be good. But there are all kinds of disruptions in this world.

Look at all the problems the world faces: terrorism, wars, diseases, poverty, famine, economic stagnation, population growth. Global warming. OK, I’ll put it on the “worry list.” But it won’t be at the top.